Thursday, December 27, 2007

Going to the Big D

Well, Christmas has come and gone and was a rousing successes. One of the best we've ever had I think. Everyone has been asking what the Big Surprise was that I couldn't talk about before, and now I can answer in full confidence since the Shorties have been told, we are going to DISNEY WORLD on Tuesday! YEA! I'm more excited than anyone going I think. And I can't believe we kept it a secret for a month. Whew.

Christmas Eve I had these boxes and several smaller packages ready to go for the kids. In the big boxes were sweat shirts and hoodies with their names embroidered on the hoods, all in favorite characters. In the small bags were autograph books and lanyards, fanny packs, cameras, and tons of gear for the trip. I had the kids put everything on as they opened the boxes and bags and told them that we had to solve the mystery of where we could use those things.

After everyone had on sweatshirts, lanyards, fanny packs, and autograph books, Elaina finally guessed it and whispered, "Disney World?" I nodded and whispered back, "on Tuesday". She paused for a second, understanding flashing in her brown eyes, almost on the verge of tears (as in I've-just-been-crowned-Miss-America tears), then the silence was broken by Elise Nicole Johnson who said, and I quote,

"I am sooooo not wearing a fanny pack to Disney World."

(And you people thought I was joking when I called her the Fashionista.) Since Santa was so close to coming, the kids dismissed the Disney talk until last night. We got out the scrapbook from when Mommy and Daddy went in 2001 and talked about rides and what we'll see and where we're staying and all of that. Elaina is the most excited of all. She grasps the enormity of the deal, I think.

Elise asked if she could have her own map to check off the rides and shows as we completed them during the trip. (This is the same child who made a guest list for Christmas Eve and checked everyone off as they came through the door--I kid you not.) When I told her that the fanny pack would come in handy to carry her maps, she grimaced and said, "Can't I carry a purse instead? Fanny packs are for moms and memaws." (Can't argue with that sort of logic.)

So, I bought some of that car writing soap stuff for the windows. Steve's decided to put "Wally World--Here We Come" on the back window. With all of the luggage strapped to the roof and seven people crammed into the Loser Cruiser for a ten-hour drive, the Griswolds have nothing on us.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Fantasyland

Out near where we live, there's a house in the middle of a huge farm area that's all alone, away from stores and streetlights and well, everything. You drive on a dirt road for several miles to actually get to the place. The first time The Husband and I drove out there, they were still using hand painted, homemade signs for directions. The signs read "Fantasyland" in red paint on a white background that was probably supposed to look festive, but the signs had been stood up before the paint was dry, so the letters literally "bled" and it looked like this creepy, bleeding sign for (insert creepy music here and say it like the Crypt Keeper)Christmas Fantasyland. About two miles down that dirt road in a heavy fog with the signs more and more resembling a bloodletting, we had better sense than to keep on going and abandoned the deal.

(Okay, laughing people: mini-van with one-year-old-twin babies, no cell phone service, thick fog, no lights, dirt road for miles, no one knows where you are, and creeping bleeding signs???--you'd have turned around too.)

But the next year, the family who hosts this production replaced the Creepy Christmas-Killer-Bleeding-We're-All-Going-To-Die signs with lovely printed ones, and we tried the drive again in confidence (well, after praying and telling people where we were going). IT WAS ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL! Now, we make this a Must See annual Johnson thing.

This family has their yard and the road leading up to the yard full of these animated scenes and lights and a Ferris wheel and huge displays. It's amazing.

There's a place to sit on a "real" Santa's lap and take photos. And the Grinch is out and about (which was a little freaky creepy. If that thing had popped out the night we made the first ride out there, I'd have run it over with the minivan in a completely justified blind panic). You can drive through their circular driveway or stop and walk. The kids were over- whelmed. It was chilly outside and Santa was there, and it felt like Christmas. You simply cannot appreciate this in photos. It's really wonderful.

Here we are on the front porch of their home.
(Naturally, Lily wasn't going anywhere near any Grinch or Santa, but gladly manned the train as engineer.)

Yes, I Think That Beaver IS Smiling at You

Friday night we went with our church Sunday School class for dinner at a place called the Sawmill. It's an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet place in rural central Alabama (as in, we drove for 30 minutes through the middle of nowhere and stopped to eat in a restaurant in a field) that was very interesting indeed. How interesting, you ask?

Allow me to share a photo of the Greeter next to the door of the Ladies' Restroom . :-)
What is it about me, church, and dead animals on display? Hmmm...Now, the food was wonderful. I enjoyed shrimp cooked every conceivable way possible. And the hush puppies and gumbo were fabulous. We ate and laughed and ate and cut up and ate and visited and had an all around great time.

I also took photographs of everyone at the party, but the flash was behaving strangely in the light, so everyone had to wait too long for the actual shutter to move, hence I have a magnificent collection of the worst photos ever. Since the flash went off early, but the shutter went off late, the first photo of Sister So-in-So, she's got her eyes closed because she thought the photo was finished (which was totally logical). The second photo, same woman looks like she's just seen a naked man streak through the restaurant because her eyes are glued open so wide as to avoid the closed eye thing. And this repeated itself all the way around the room. I have an amazing collection of Eyes Closed/Eyes Wide photos that could be some strange art exhibit.

And although I won't post those photos here (because any old goofus can stumble upon this site), I will be putting those up on the church website this morning so that we can laugh amongst ourselves. (Someone is now desperately dialing up numbers on the phone list trying to figure out who let me be in charge of that deal--should the woman who is the worst photographer alive really be responsible for posting all of the photos of the people at the church? Not terribly well thought out.) ;-)

Guess it was pretty good...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Johnson Family Christmas Photos 2007

The posed picture...

And then the real picture...
Merry Christmas to everyone!

Psalm 113

Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD, Praise the name of the LORD. Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forever. From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised. The LORD is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens. Who is like the LORD our God, who is enthroned on high, who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of His people. He makes the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother of children. Praise the LORD!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Running Errands--an Exercise in Time Management

I've run absolutely crazy this week. (I always tell folks that the busiest time in our universe starts at around October 12th before the Fall Festival and ends up around the second week in January. This year is holding true to that statement.)

After a crazy weekend of Sunday School Parties and Choir Practices and Christmas Cantatas, we hit the ground running again on Monday.

Lily and I ran errands while the kids were in school, which turned into a nightmare. We left the house at 9:45 or so, and she threw up at around 10:15, halfway in the middle of nowhere. She asked for some "musik, mommy", so I put on Christmas carols and there we were, singing our hearts out when I heard that terrible sound from behind me. Motion sickness. That wouldn't have been a huge problem, but in addition to being sick on herself, the car seat, and her blankie, she yacked on the spare outfit I had in the car that just happened to be strategically located under her seat. (perfect) So I had to stop at the Dollar General and buy clothes. Of course, they didn't have any clothes in her size, so we left the store in boy's pajamas.

On my list of things to do was go to the Old Time Pottery store to buy picture frames for the grandparents. This is an ordeal. I have so many in-laws and out-laws, that I have diagrams and lists with who gets what and where and in what size and what color this one prefers and what color that one needs, etc. After 45-minutes of frame shopping (which is about 30 minutes too long), just as I started toward the check out with a full buggy, the power in the store went off. Total darkness. Lily went berserk screaming until I got her out of the buggy.

They couldn't check us out (no one can figure out how to use a calculator in 2007 I suppose), so I had to abandon the buggy and go on to Wal-Mart. (The store was kind enough to put my name on the buggy of stuff should I make it back.)

On the way to the Wally World shopping center, four traffic lights were out on the busiest highway ever, so it took 30 minutes longer than it should have to navigate up the road. I hooked up with Steve (finally), and we bought the stuff for the children's Christmas program, then I loaded Lily up with him, and they went off to get the kids from school. (He called two minutes into the drive and wanted to know why he got to drive the 'funky Lily vehicle' prompting me to tell him that he was welcome to come back and finish the shopping and I'd take the kids home. He did what all men do when having That Sort of Conversation and pretended to lose cell service.)

I got yet another buggy and proceeded to shop for our personal household. (I think that two buggies at Wal-Mart and walking the entire store twice might be an effective form of torture.)

I then called the Old Time Pottery as I was shoving my sacks of stuff into the trunk to see if the lights had come back on. They were back in business, so I hauled it eight miles over there to get my stuff, not wanting to go through the Frame Ordeal again. I made it back to the house in time to sling the purchases from Wal-mart and OTP out of the car into the kitchen, and cram the kids in the car, and then drive like I was on fire to gymnastics practice. We made the 40 minute drive in 30 minutes flat.

When that was over, we had to rush back home for Steve to meet the sound system man at the church at 6:00. We came screaming in the driveway at 6:02 and did the tag team in reverse with me coming and him going this time. The beautiful man had dinner ready on the counter for us when we got inside. :-) Fish sticks and macaroni are excellent when you aren't the person fixing it, Sister.

Yesterday felt about the same as that, only I had a speaking engagement at noon and all four kids go their hair cut at 3:30. (You can only imagine this adventure, but sufficed to say that if we're on the schedule and you are planning on getting your hair do the same day, just go ahead and cancel. That or bring popcorn and watch the Johnson Show live and in color.)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Trip Down Memory Lane

Christmas 2002

I love this photo--it's like the truth of the matter. All of those posed photos are torment.
Again, the baby is the only one with the right idea...

Home Alone

We're about to have a First for the new house...the kids are spending the night away from home on Friday night. All of them. Away. Gone. As in 'no kids in the house'.

Now, I hate to do the happy dance all over the place about my kids being away from home, but anyone with four kids can tell you that having all of them away at the same time over night is like a miraculous occurrence. We have a greater chance of a meteorite landing in the back yard than having all four kids off overnight at the same time.

Someone at church joked that we don't need to be left alone to our own devices--four kids is enough. :-) I'm just looking forward to sleeping without Carter's big head in my back and not waking up at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. Yea! Whoo-hoo! (We are old.)

Since I am mailing out our Christmas photos this coming week, I'll save my official Johnson Christmas Photos on the blog until everyone gets to be surprised, but I was looking through some old Christmas photos this weekend, and I thought I'd share some of my favorites.

This is Elise doing her impression of Mary and the Baby Jesus.
Elaina, I-want-to-be-a-soccer-mom-when-I-grow-up Johnson.
Elaina (Don't hate me because I'm beautiful):
Elise (Who is smiling so big because she already formulated the plan to hurl that ball in her lap across the room at the back of her brother's head--which happened one second after the photo was taken):
Carter (Another photo? You can't be serious. When is this over and the gift part happens?):
Lily (only way to make it through the holidays unscathed--sleep):

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Spelling Bee at the ER

By now, most of you have heard about Elise's half-gainer off of the monkey bar platform at Orr Park. Basically, she was about to cross the monkey bars and somehow slipped or misstepped and did a swan dive from about 6 1/2 feet in the air, landing on her elbows and head/neck. It was something to see. We were overdue for a 911 moment.

In emergencies, Steve usually airs on the side of caution (as in, let's just get it checked out for fun), and I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum (as in, if there's no protruding bone, shake it off, you'll be fine), so we're learning to meet in the middle. Since there were no other symptoms other than "sore neck", we opted to wait overnight and see how she was in the morning. And of course we ended up in the Children's emergency room Sunday at lunchtime "just for fun". (The experience of taking a child to Children's downtown is another blog for another day.)

So, 2 1/2 hours on the road, three hours in the emergency room, X-Rays and a CT scan, and several hundred dollars later, we have an official diagnosis of a Sore Neck. They put her in a neck brace and told her to take it easy, no PE and no gymnastics for at least a week. The neck brace looks quite impressive, so the sympathy and snuggle factor are off of the scale. I'm talking quality attention--the kind that involves cake and 'oh you poor, sweet thing'. And Elise is no dummy--she likes a good snuggle and hug and cake as good as any other Johnson.

The funniest part of this particular ordeal was when the primary doctor came into see us and explained that she had strained her blah-blah-blah-blah-blah muscles. He said that they were called the SCM for short. She gave him this are-you-sure look and he said, "I can even spell that."

Now, I'm sure that this physician was just being cute, but to Elise The Literal Child, this was cause for an instant challenge.

She paused for a second and said, "Okay, then, go ahead."

He did a double take, and then the doctor seriously and carefully spelled the eighteen syllable word and smiled at his accomplishment with this little self-satisfied grin.

Obviously unimpressed, Elise considered that for a second and then deadpanned, "Well, I can spell Mississippi. That's a long word too."

"Okay, then let's hear it," said the Doctor in all manner of seriousness.

Elise Johnson, Scholar replied with what else but, "M. I. Crooked letter, crooked letter. I. Crooked letter, crooked letter. I. Humpback, humpback, I. (pause, pause, pause.) Of course you understand that the Crooked Letters stand for "s" and the Humpbacks stand for "p", but you get the idea."

Doctor: "That is a very long word."

Then he couldn't keep the straight face anymore and started laughing at her serious little face. But he missed the funniest part. On the way home, from the backseat, Elise piped up with, "I should have chosen to spell 'oxygen' or 'Christmas' or 'university' because those are complicated words. Mississippi might be long, but there are lots of repeat letters, so it's easy. Next time we go up here for an emergency I'll have a better word, so if Carter or Lily or Elaina have an emergency, I get to come too."

Okay then.

(Note to self: pack up all sharp objects so that Elise doesn't stab someone in order to challenge the ER doctor to a re-do.)

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Last night after Church, The Husband was playing that game where you put your hands up and jump at someone and make the "oooohhhhh" sound to scare them. Lily thought this was the funniest thing that had ever happened. She kept trying to show us what Daddy had done that was so hilarious and put her hands up and mocked the same sound. And this is what that looked like...they say a picture is worth a thousand words and it ain't no lie...

League of Justice

So, here's the League of Justice having dinner. We had a couple of kids spend the night (as though there weren't enough action at the house already), and here we are in dress up partaking of the evening meal. At the table we have the terrifying Lady Bug Purple Spotted Warrior. A Power Ranger. Spider-Man. Pink Princess Ninja Fairy. And the two on the end are still in their alter-ego cover story as fashion models in street clothes.
Carter Big Boy Power Ranger pausing briefly from saving the universe to eat chicken and macaroni and cheese.
And as usual, Lily had multiple costume changes throughout the evening. Don't ask me--I have no idea what this is. Something like a mix of Spider-Man and Geordi LaForge off of Star Trek: The Next Generation (don't ask me how I know that either).

Monday, November 26, 2007

Black Friday

We loaded up the Loser Cruiser (aka Mini-van) and headed to the Mamaw's house for Turkey Day. It was nice to see the family again and visit with everyone. It was also nice to eat that turkey and dressing (that I didn't have to prepare). :-)

We came home and did a big bunch of nothing the rest of that day. Probably gearing up for what was coming the next day, because Black Friday rolls around and the Mild Mannered Charlotte Ann (stop laughing) is a Sister Sunshine Shopping Maniac!

I got the bug for shopping on the day after Thanksgiving two years ago when I went with Memaw Joyce, and we tore up the town, overflowing the backseat and trunk with treasures reaped at bargain basement prices. Before that day, I'd been one of the people pooh-poohing the entire day saying that I'd pay double for everything not to go and fight the crowds. That was until the day I scored that dual screen DVD player for $149.00 (which at the time was almost half what they were going for) and I got The Fever.

So, Friday morning, I dragged three friends out the bed at 4:00 in the A.M. and off we went! Summer, Joyce, Betty, and I hit the road in the pre-dawn hours to track down the savings. (Well, that was after Charlotte spent oh, like 30 minutes driving around the countryside of Randolph looking for Summer's house which she couldn't see from the road in the dark and ended up traveling all over the county on dirt roads until she stumbled upon the house with some help from The Husband on the phone. And it's shameful to admit, but her house is something like, oh, maybe 1/2 a mile from mine. Sheesh) :-)

After we secured everyone in the vehicle and prayed, we went first to the place of all things necessary...Wal-Mart. We set a time to meet back at the van and off we went into the sea of scowling faces. Now, I make it a personal policy that I AM going to behave as a Christian and I AM going to be smiling and laughing and I AM going to be nice at all times and compliment the cashiers and let others go before me and hand off my buggy to other frustrated shoppers and do all that is within me to behave myself (said committment saved several rude people from a melt down). Of course that's the prayer at 4:00 in the morning before I am coherent and actually have to put that into practice. ;-)

Seriously, it's so much more fun if you just enjoy the hunt and don't get disappointed by whatever comes your way. So, for example, when the $49.00 portable DVD players were all sold out because I made us late to the Wal-Mart, it didn't surprise me one bit when we found them available in abundance at $54.00 in the Target an hour later. Yea!

After those two major retailers, it was time for breakfast. Now, there are some of you out there who are so serious about this shopping thing that you think that the drive through is the way to go, but you are missing out on one very important point of the entire trip. You are out of the house without kids and without your husband. Think for a second. How often does this actually happen in the life of the Mother Bear? I'm not wasting that opportunity on a biscuit in any drive through, no, no, Dear Friend, not me. The best part about shopping on Black Friday is the I-Hop that just happens to be located by Divine Providence on the way to the Galleria Shopping Mega Mall. :-) Food with no Shortie hands in it. YEA!!!!!

Another topic of note, on the thirty minute ride to civilization, i.e., the shopping mall, we passed a carload of folks from our church (hello Alex, Martha, and Melanie!). We then ran into the craziest people from my last church (hello Audrey and April!). Then at the I-Hop we saw another crew (Mitzie, Nannette and their family!). Here's something to think the car with me were three of the craziest people I know. Then we drove past, shopped next to, and ate in the same place with the other people in my life who would make that list of Completely Crazy Fun People. Hmmm...something to think, if you aren't a Black Friday shopper, maybe you aren't very much fun... Ha-ha!

It was a great day for everyone in the van! We got home by 11:30 and the vehicle was so full that we almost couldn't fit ourselves in there. Success!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Griswold Christmas

As you can tell by the lack of blogging, it has been a wild and crazy week. :-).

On Wednesday we put up the Christmas decorations (which is always an adventure). This is our first Christmas in this new house, and I wanted to change themes from I-just-had-a-baby-and-didn't-have-time-to-decorate-at-all to "Griswolds". So, after I purchased the amazing gingerbread yard art at the Christmas Village, I decided that it would look really cute to decorate the whole house like a gingerbread house.

Notice the major flaw in this plan is that "I" decided, not "We" decided.

I think that a man who will hang Christmas lights for his wife must really, really, really love her. No one else is stupid enough to do it without large sums of money being exchanged.

The Husband has one Major Christmas Issue and that's with those icicle lights. He hates them with a passion--he has a valid arguement that in our neck of the woods it's common place for at least half of the trailers in the area to just leave the icicle lights hanging year round as some sort of decorative statement of laziness. As a result of this aversion, so we have always hung this single strange of very large white globes along the roof line, which really looks like some sort of stage lighting and not Christmas lights. It certainly doesn't look Gingerbread House, so when I saw the colored icicle lights on the Wal-Mart shelf, I hesitated only a fraction of a second before purchasing and bringing them home.

I also got colored strands of lights to go on the poles in the front of the house, but once I'd put them up, I then took them down to outline the picture window and front door (adding about two hours to the project). It is beyond me how people figure out the wiring for these big yard light-em-up jobs in town. I almost went insane orchestrating the extenstion cords for a string of icicles and four strings of colored lights.

Anyway, here's the end result...

I'm still working out some huge lollipops on the windows and wrapped candies on the side of the house and putting in the candy canes that line the driveway. Elaina suggested on the ride home today that what we really needed was a huge sign that says, 'Happy Birthday Jesus'. She's right; that's exactly what's missing. :-)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Hazard Pay

Last night I hosted the WMU at my house. For those of you who don't speak Christian-ese of the Southern Baptist dialect, that's the Women's Missionary Union. It's basically a group of women from church who get together and pray for missionaries, organize mission projects and outreach events, and we do devotionals based on missions. Oh, and we eat. :-)

So, last night I put my kids in the basement playroom with two youth and let them at it while we conducted our group meeting upstairs. Everything went well. Taking into account of course that Lily peed on one of the babysitters. But this is exactly why we overpay anyone who babysits in the first place. If you are brave enough to care for my wild heathens, you will probably be a) thrown up on, b) have peanut butter/jelly/cheese/apple juice/pizza on some part of your body and/or clothing that wasn't there when you got to my house, c) need a band aid/cold compress/Tylenol at some point in the festivities (not just for the kids, but probably for yourself), and d) before you take the gig you need to grasp that getting peed on is a reasonable job hazard.

This is also why we over tip. The second we are seated in a restaurant I give this same speech to the server, "You have a 45-minute window of opportunity here. I can keep all four of these babies under hand and voice command for exactly 45 minutes from the second we sat in these chairs until we are paying the check. After that, it's Thunderdome, Baby, so let's go ahead and get that pen and pad out because it's Go Time and we are ready to order. Either way we are tipping well to compensate you for the noise; for the eighteen times you will have to refill milk, chocolate milk, tea, and juice; for the cracker smeg we are going to be leaving on the table and under it in such quantities that you will have to find and run a vacuum; and well, just because we are Johnsons."

If things aren't going well or the service or food or chocolate milk happens to be taking a particularly long time, I'll smile and add, "Oh Miss? In almost, oh, 17minutes I'm setting these kids free in this restaurant." That usually does the trick. People from neighboring tables start screaming, "For the Love! Give that table our food, and we'll wait for you to cook our order over again!" (Inside Joke Alert: Shout Out to Walter B. from the Land of Vandiver who will give me a rousing chorus of Amens right here. Walter wakes from his sleep cold with sweat at the mere thought that he might be seated next to us in eateries. In fact, he once suggested that we fax him our weekly dining schedule just so he would be apprised of our whereabouts.)

So, we notoriously overpay for childcare and for restaurant service. Hey, you'd want hazard pay if there is a chance someone is going to pee on you on the job too.

In another funny, we ate at I-Hop with the in laws last Saturday and my children were behaving smashingly well. At a nearby booth, there was a young couple struggling with one ornery 2-yr-old (and that's scarier than a hungry bear, my friend). So, the mother had done everything she could do and she finally turned to her husband and hissed, "Look at that table!" (gesturing wildly at us) "That woman has four kids and they are perfectly behaved and we can't keep this ONE KID in check."

On the way out I stopped at their table and said, "Don't worry, it gets easier the older they get," and smiled my best sympathetic smile. I know it's wrong to lie like that, but if I told her about the Cracker Barrel Incident of 2004 when we left prematurely because of the syrup fight and exploding diarreah diaper that covered two children and me and the booth and carpet and server, she might never procreate again.


As fate would have it, ten minutes before our family portraits were made on Wednesday night, Lillian Grace got a wad of bubble gum stuck in her hair. No, not totally true. During her nap, she must have gotten the bubble gum stuck in her hair because it was dried firm when we found it. And of course, the wad of gum was not at the bottom of the length of her hair, but about five inches up.

So, after a screaming fit about no more gum in the house ever again as long as we live (which is like the fifth time The Husband has given this same ultimatum), I struggled with the gum for about five minutes (seconds) and then got a pair of scissors and hacked away at her head. It looks like a dog chewed the child's hair off at the ends. So, I have difinitively proven yet again that we can safely scratch "hairdresser" off of my list of accomplishments. We may have to shave her head like we did Carter's after he scalped his bangs off last year...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

All the news that's fit to print.

So, I’m reading the "news" this morning, and this is an actual headline on MSN: "How to Date While Pregnant" Ummm...I’m not sure when pregnant and dating became an acceptable, newsworthy story item. (And everyone thought I was crazy when I proclaimed that the Bratz dolls were a plague on our society. No shocker there, when we have Hooker Barbies on an entire aisle of the toy store, we then aren't allowed to be shocked and mystified about birth control being passed out without parental consent in the Middle School to 11-yr-olds and MSN giving us "pregnant and dating web tips" as "news".)

(Note to self: no more caffeine after 9:00 a.m. The rants are starting earlier and earlier.)

And in other news, I’m speaking at our local County Ministerial Assistants Banquet in December and in the advertisement they listed me as: "Enjoy Bible teacher, speaker, and humorist Charlotte Johnson."

I got tickled because that is pretty good--"humorist". Usually when people ask me what I speak about or what I do in these programs I say, "Ummm...well...I sort of...hmmm...tell funny stories...not jokes...because I'm not a comedian exactly, but I tell real life stories, but they are really funny stories, and then I apply them to a greater principle...blah, blah, blah." It sounds like I have no idea what I "do" (maybe because I don't).

I think that now I’m going to steal that descriptive: I’m a Humorist. :-) Cool.

We're sort of running crazy right now at the house with so many things going on at one time (humming a few bars of It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas under my breath)

Our church is doing a new directory, and we are having our family portraits made tonight; our church also sponsors an Upward Basketball league and evaluations are ongoing this week at night; Steve is helping a family with a funeral today/tomorrow; he's also speaking at a local elementary school tomorrow afternoon; I'm hosting a women's meeting at my house tomorrow night that involves a full house cleaning and making food (thank goodness for those dip mixes I bought at the Christmas Village, whew); we're having kids sleep over at the house on Friday night; we have a youth mission project on Saturday afternoon; we've got the big Thanksgiving service coming up Sunday evening; and the youth project continues on Sunday afternoon as does the training for coaches and referees for the basketball thingy right after morning services.

And then we have a second grade field trip on Monday (which is going to require its own rant because they are asking parents to follow the bus and drive their own vehicles up there 45 miles from the school and then, oh, hey, we're real sorry, but there isn't room in the actual planetarium for you, so you'll have to wait outside with the other parents while the kids and teachers go in and see the program and parents, don't forget to bring your own lunches and pay your way in. Funny, we can't figure out why we can't get chaperone's, do-de-do-de-do...[note to self: try not to rant pre the actual rant anymore]) and then we have flu shots and I have no earthly idea when exactly am I going to put up the Christmas tree and decorations and bake and shop and wrap and, and, and...?

Wait, I can't type anymore, my left eyelid is twitching. I think I just blew a fuse or something. Speaking of that Wife Swap thing a few posts ago, anyone want to trade? Anyone? Anyone? Hello? (tap, tap, tap on screen) Is this thing on?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Various Illnesses

I've been out of pocket for a few days with a wicked stomach flu. Lovely. I was supposed to speak at a youth event on Saturday night and had to ditch them at the last minute because I couldn't stand up straight. Ugh.

To the youth at The Springs: I promise that I'll make it up to you and Ms. Marilyn and Ms. Tracy! I'll be extra special funny at the next opportunity! But rather than infect the entire youth department, perhaps it was best that I stayed home. :-)

So, I thought I'd share this brief funny and call it a night...let's play a game: I have one free-spirited twin and one very literal twin. So who did which craft? Elise or Elaina?

Elise: "Mom, she can't even get her craft right. It looks all stupid and stuff because the leaves aren't on the ends of the branches."

Elaina: "Well, duh, it's fall and they are 'falling leaves' so mine is more right than yours is. Now who is stupid and stuff?"

On Friday, Steve and I cleaned the house together ( THAT'S why I'm so sick--housework aversion). Anyway, these are photos from Saturday morning that I took for fun since I was so proud that the girls got up and made their beds...

And this is exactly 22 minutes later when they got dressed to go out and play...

I'm pretty sure what made me so sick. Now you know why I laugh at those stupid shows like "Wife Swap" cause no one could hang over here, Baby.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pumpkin Patch

I went with my son's kinder-garten class on a field trip to a pumpkin patch working farm in our area. It was really a great outing--the school and teacher were very organized and the Old Baker Farm was lovely. The kids had a ball--Carter slept the hour-long ride home and that's always a good indicator of how it went.
We got to do interesting things like pick cotton (which was only interesting because we were doing it for 'fun' and not to make a living). Mr. Baker told us that a pair of jeans has about $1.30 of cotton in it and a shirt has about $.60. Whoa.

It's not every day that you get to pet a chicken. Some observant mother made the comment that it was sort of ironic that they hauled a bunch of kids who are from the country to look at the country. Most of the kids in the class own chickens and pigs and cows and horses. (Obviously not us.)

There was a big corn maze for older kids, but we were happy going through the hay bale maze...

Picking the 'perfect' pumpkin. Carter got his home and named it Carlos Johnson. Then his sister proceeded to draw the Four Faces of Carlos on it with a Sharpie: happy, sad (crying), angry, and sleeping. Then they wrapped Carlos in a baby blanket and took him to gymnastics class and to Memaw's house for dinner. Okay then.

The Eye of the Beholder

Because I got off on such a huge tear about the Christmas Village, I forgot to tell the most important part. I mistakenly thought that the first time someone called me "ma'am" was the official marker in the sand that I'd crossed the threshold into "old". No, no, friends, it's when you buy lawn art for Christmas. I think that's the universal crossover for old and redneck alike.

So, I purchased a huge sparkly gingerbread house with "The Johnson Family" on it (naturally) and then, as though that weren't enough, I added little gingerbread people with our names on them and some glitter-covered candy canes for good measure. Have no fear, I'll be getting a photo of that disaster posted as soon as the decorations come out after Thanksgiving. (I can see how excited you all are.)

Speaking of tacky decorations...this blog is becoming all about photos of Lily because she's so...interesting. (And I mean interesting like a strange bug you just squished and are trying to identify.) She's going through this major costume phase, just bringing us bits and pieces to put on. Here is our Saturday-afternoon-because-it's-3:00-p.m.-costume.

And here is our going to Sunday night services outfit. She looks like a little old lady. Ha! And we have no clue where those tinted sunglasses came from, so if they belong to your child and she lifted them, just let me know and I'll pry them off of her head. :-)